Easy Ways BSA Officers Can Get Their Required Training

By: Mary Ellen Biery

Ongoing training is at the very heart of a satisfactory Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) compliance program in financial institutions. Training is especially important for the BSA officer, who “is expected to be fully knowledgeable about the BSA and all related regulations,” as a recent Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis publication noted.

“Due to the heightened knowledge and expertise required for BSA officers, their training requires resources beyond reading periodicals and online articles and/or completing general staff training,” the Minneapolis Fed’s newsletter said.

BSA officers know themselves that the demands of the job are extremely varied and constantly changing, so training can bolster their confidence and job satisfaction, in addition to meeting the regulatory requirements.

However, not every BSA officer can afford the time or expense of attending the major industry conferences held each year. Those conferences often involve travel and multiple days away from the financial institution. And beyond those events, it can be tricky to find affordable training that doesn’t require a costly new membership or subscription.

One option that makes it easy for BSA officers to complete required training is to attend regional meetings. These are usually less expensive, shorter, and involve less extensive travel than the larger national conferences. For example, Abrigo is hosting regional seminars in six cities across the U.S. between September and January. The Abrigo Regional User Groups are for users of BAM+, Abrigo’s BSA/AML software platform, and for industry colleagues who want to enhance their BSA/AML knowledge. The one-day meetings, eligible for 5.25 CRCM, 5.25 CAFP credits, and 2 CAMS credits, will include:

  • Panel sessions featuring local and regional law enforcement discussing recent cases
  • A session on BSA model governance, and
  • A session on the risks of banking the cannabis industry
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Users of BAM+ will receive a deep dive into tips and tricks of using the software, but even if you’re not a BAM+ user, the meetings will provide the opportunity to enhance BSA knowledge and network with peers. Networking is especially important for BSA officers to be able to stay informed. Regulations are often open to interpretation, especially at examination time, so talking to fellow BSA officers to find out how they have handled certain situations or how their examiners have treated particular issues can be informative. The ability to share ideas and talk about trends or the types of crimes happening in their respective areas can also be helpful to a BSA officer, who typically is the only BSA expert in the financial institution.

Cost for these regional meetings is $100, and dates and locations are:

An additional workshop in Las Vegas, Nevada is planned for January 2020, with further details coming soon. Registration for each event closes a week before the workshop.

Another easy way for BSA officers to obtain their required training is to attend local events hosted by chapters of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, or ACAMS. These local seminars, panel discussions or dinners usually cost far less than a major conference – even for non-members, and they are usually eligible for some type of educational credit. For example, The U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Alabama & the Alabama Chapter of ACAMS is hosting a seminar on Suspicious Activity Reports on Sept. 17.

Finally, BSA officers can obtain required training using online resources from reputable thought leaders. Abrigo offers free, regular one-hour webinars for continuing professional education credits, including CAMS and CRCM. For example, on Aug. 28, the webinar, “Next-Level Money Laundering Detection with Hybrid Threat Finance,” will provide an overview of Hybrid Threat Finance, which is the study of financial movements and patterns of transnational criminal organizations. It will include information on how to start a targeted and effective program for detecting and identifying illicit finance.

Finding ongoing BSA training to stay on top of the latest information about money-laundering and fraud is possible, thanks to regional, local and online resources aimed at making it convenient and cost-effective.

About the Author

Mary Ellen Biery

Mary Ellen Biery is a Senior Writer and Content Specialist at Abrigo.

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Abrigo is a leading technology provider of compliance, credit risk, and lending solutions that community financial institutions use to manage risk and drive growth. Our software automates key processes — from anti-money laundering to fraud detection to lending solutions — empowering our customers by addressing their Enterprise Risk Management needs.

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